Mark Twain, judging by his quote (see title of this post), seems to think that humans are like sheep.  I beg to differ.  For example, I am very excited about learning obstetrics on sheep, not humans.  Let me tell you about my sheep experience.

So yeah, I didn’t know much about sheep yesterday evening.  I don’t know much about them this evening, either.  But here are some things that I learned today.  Since I like bulleted lists, I’ll maintain that method.

  • Most of the ones with the black faces are Dorsets.
  • An experienced person can sheer a ewe (pronounced ‘yo’ in this country) in about 40 seconds.
  • Throwing a ewe or a young ram, meaning, to get them to sit on their hindquarters so you can do all sorts of nasty stuff to them, is fun.  Even I can do it.  I have serious issues throwing the mature rams, the 90-100 kg beasts with well muscled necks, which means that it’s nigh impossible for one person to bend the animal’s neck around, which means that animal isn’t going to get thrown any time soon.  Apparently that’s why vets make sure the stockperson is around.
  • Sheep are great for obstetrical practice.  The principles for just about any mammalian (and human, of course) parturition are similar, and since sheep are a nice size for greenhorns such as I, well… here’s the deal.  They synchronize the herd so that the ewes give birth during the vet students’ break–we’re supposed to spend a lot of time on that farm!  I’m excited about next spring.
  • Check their mucous membranes–I didn’t know that sheep have a third eyelid, similar to cattle, which is very easy to check

We had to throw the sheep so we could pare their hooves, give them boluses or douse them, and check (visually and by palpation) their, uh, reproductive equipment.  This last job was quite a fascinating novelty, particular to some aspiring veterinarianettes.  But I must brag about at least some of them.  These young ladies are amazing.  They bought brand-new coveralls and wellies (rubber boots), and, well, my pompous self sort of laughed at them.  But when it comes to walking through the pens or the exceedingly messy cobbles (remember, it rains at least half a dozen times per day) and wrestling around some unimpressed cattle or sheep, the ladies are brilliant, as the Irish say.  Although I suppose the males are physically stronger, none of us come close to the sheer determination that these girls possess.  When I can’t throw a ram, I move on to a younger, smaller animal that I can throw.  It ameliorates the depressed ego, you see.  Not with some of my friends!  They stick to it and get others to help… and eventually even the biggest rams are sitting sedately on their hindquarters.

Speaking of fascinating novelties, this evening Jenn and I went shopping at Argos.  You view and reserve everything online, and then go to the nearest Argos outlet to pay and pick up your order.  Argos holds your reservation for two business days.  How cool is that?  It seriously cuts down on the overhead of the store, and the resulting cost savings are very attractive to the customer.  We picked up an ironing board, iron, clothes drying rack, laundry hamper, electric mixer, and an Epson MFC.

Um, I don’t think it’s my wife’s favourite place to shop.  You reserve your stuff, go to the nearest store and pick up your order, and leave in under 10 minutes. 🙂

Conrad, I immediately felt a bit homesick when I saw the farm’s MF 4255 pulling their Keenan TMR.

OK, time to shut up.  As Shakespeare would say, “Fie!  What a spendthrift is he of his tongue!”